|Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 24 May 2010|
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Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive Review
The Hard Disk Drive (HDD) has enjoyed a long service life in the computer industry, and only recently has the Solid State Drive (SSD) threatened to replace it. While the HDD offers higher capacity at a better price, SSDs offer tremendous speeds and operational performance. Finally, Seagate has achieved the optimal blend of each, and presents the Solid State-Hybrid Hard Drive. Seagate's Momentus-XT hybrid uses a 7200-RPM hard drive fused with 4GB SLC NAND flash to deliver SSD speeds and HDD storage capacity. Seagate's Adaptive Memory technology uses an algorithm to monitor user data access transactions, which caches qualified data onto the SSD. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 500GB Seagate Momentus-XT ST95005620AS Solid State Hybrid Drive against several of the fastest notebook storage devices available.
When SSD storage devices first arrived to market, hardware review websites (such as Benchmark Reviews) worked past a period of understanding the new technology. Testing SSDs required more understanding than HDD tests, and operational performance was vastly more relevant than transfer speeds. Seagate is about to usher in another transitional period, because their SSD-Hybrid relies on an Adaptive Memory algorithm that works by identifying patterns in how often certain digital data is used. So while the name is Solid State Hybrid Drive, the product is really a 'smart' HDD with a large memory buffer.
For this purpose, our usually collection of benchmark test metrics won't paint an accurate picture. ATTO and Iometer will offer traditional measurements, but these performance readings will ignore Seagate's Adaptive Memory algorithm that improves the operation of accessing these programs and not the benchmark results. Repetitive processes will benefit from SSD-like performance, but one-time file transfers and initial application access will be handled by the enhanced hard drive. In addition to traditional HDD/SSD benchmark tests, the Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid will be used for real-world tasks and compared against the competition.
For decades, the slowest component in any computer system was the hard drive. Most modern processors operate within approximately 1-ns (nanosecond = one billionth of one second) response time, while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning desktop storage products exhibit a 9,000,000 ns - or 9 ms (millisecond = one thousandth of one second) initial response time. In more relevant terms, The processor receives the command and waits for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; which is usually the hard drive.
The theoretical goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor, and the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, just consider that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.
Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap. The difference a SSD makes to operational reaction times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their HDD counterparts.
About Seagate Technology LLC.
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disk drives and storage solutions, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, with the goal of being the time-to-market leader in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at http://www.seagate.com/.